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Favorite ThisTwo Fresh: Airmail Review

Published: March 16, 2011

By: Evan Townsend

Two Fresh - AirmailWith their debut release on Elm and Oak Records, Two Fresh producers Kendrick and Sherwyn Nicholls prove they know their music, and know it intimately. While the twins’ style has consistently transcended the realm of ingratiating hooks and radio-ready pop, Airmail strays from the broader hip-hop influences and vocal samples that drive much of the duo’s first album, The Baker’s Dozen (available for free download here.)

Airmail is a convoluted and nebulous space where pulsing melodies float through a haze of textured beats. With this album, Two Freshdoesn’t just build on an existing model—it rethinks the entire system of construction. Ripped from the support of their reverb-heavy lyrics, most artists would crumble, but Two Fresh crafts sounds strong enough to stand on their own.  
Airmail’s alluring prelude “Viscosities” establishes the ethereal quality of the album. The light, even whimsical, track balances the listener carefully on a precipice, preparing them for a dive into the much darker, more enigmatic soundscapes in the cuts that follow. 
In a style more typical of the album, the lumbering beats of “Hustlers” are thinly overlaid with entrancing melodies. A high synth lends itself to the patently swelling intensity of this track. “Collar Up_ Call Her Up,” “Pan Fry,” and “Nuckin Futs” carry the same full, sultry sound.
Thinly sliced piano runs expose a soulful, sincere side of Airmail in “Unknown.” Stripped of any twice-baked synth, the track speaks to Two Fresh’s skill at eliciting a strong emotional message devoid of any lyrics.
Though its revelation comes slowly, the smooth and gleaming “DewOO” mirrors a playful air reminiscent of the album’s opener. Its strange and imaginative sound bleeds into the discordant “MIN_MAX,” which plays against “DewOO” as a darker, more sinister doppelganger. 
Two Fresh treats its fans with respect, understanding they sometimes desire tracks with more substance than the average chart-topping club bangers. True to themselves and their sound with each fluid and steady track, the duo establishes their voice as the answer to the often trite and demeaning world of popular music.

Tags: Livetronica